Are You Experiencing Hormone Imbalance?
Feeling off lately? Maybe for a long time? It’s possible you are experiencing hormone imbalance.
Your hormones keep all your body systems working well. They are absolutely essential to a healthy, happy life! But when that delicate balance gets out of whack, it can make you feel awful.
Many of the symptoms of hormone imbalance are also symptoms of other medical conditions, so the hormone imbalance causing them can be completely missed.
Here’s a look at some common symptoms of hormone imbalance. If this sounds like you, it’s possible your hormones need some help getting back in smooth working order.
You’re Tired All the Time
“If you’re logging eight hours in the sack and still waking up groggy, low progesterone levels could be stealing your sleep,” says Sara Gottfried, MD, the author of The Hormone Cure. Progesterone naturally plummets with menopause, but it can begin dropping as early as your thirties, when your ovaries start releasing fewer eggs. Because the hormone regulates your internal thermostat, a low level of it may cause your body temperature to yo-yo at night, resulting in night sweats that prevent deep, restorative sleep.
Treat it. Dial the thermostat down to 64 degrees before bed to keep night sweats at bay, Dr. Gottfried suggests. Also, eat lots of vitamin C-rich foods (red bell peppers, oranges, kiwis, broccoli, strawberries, and brussels sprouts). Getting 750 milligrams of C a day may raise progesterone in women with a deficiency, a study in Fertility and Sterility found. If you have period problems, see your ob-gyn to rule out more serious conditions related to low progesterone levels, like endometriosis or endometrial cancer.
You Get Sneezy or Wheezy Before Your Period
Moodiness, headaches, and bloat are annoyances you expect with PMS. But allergies or an asthma attack? Not so much. Turns out, allergy symptoms worsen in some women right before their period. And premenstrual hormonal fluctuations can make it harder for those with asthma to breathe. Again, progesterone may be the culprit: Rising levels in the days before your period coincide with airway inflammation that can set the stage for an asthma flare-up, a study from McMaster University in Canada found. On the flip side, as estrogen levels go up during the first half of your menstrual cycle, airway inflammation goes down. “It’s not a simple relationship in which progesterone is bad and estrogen is good; it’s more about your individual sensitivity to both hormones,” says study author Piush Mandhane, MD, PhD.
Treat it. Keep a journal for a few months recording where you are in your cycle (the first day of your period is day one) and any asthma or allergy symptoms you experience. Then share that info with your doctor. If there’s a relationship between the two, your doc may suggest using an asthma inhaler or taking OTC allergy meds preemptively. The pill may also help: Birth control makes your hormones fluctuate less.
Difficult Health Issues Caused By Hormone Imbalance
When it comes to your health, not everything is always as it seems. Just like a heart attack can masquerade as stomach upset, many common (and stubborn!) health issues are caused by hormone imbalance. If anything below looks like your situation, take the time to get a diagnosis. Finding the real cause and treating your hormones may just be the best thing you have done in a long time.
Take a look at these symptoms of hormone imbalance and see if it sounds like your life!
1. Unexplained Weight Gain or Loss
Hormones play a major role in regulating metabolism, including how we burn calories or store them as fat. For this reason, when your body’s hormone levels become unbalanced, you may experience sudden and unexplained fluctuations in weight. While malfunctioning thyroid or adrenal glands are possible causes, often this problem can be corrected with simple dietary adjustments.
Jill Coleman of Wake Forest University in North Carolina recommends recording when you feel hungry, as well as your energy levels and cravings each day using a 1 to 10 scale. If you are prone to excessive hunger and cravings, but your energy levels are generally very low, try increasing your daily protein intake by 20 to 30 grams (about the equivalent of a 3 – 4 ounce chicken breast.) This will help to stabilize your blood-glucose levels and may set your metabolic hormones back on the right track.
2. Stubborn Belly Fat
Fluctuations aren’t the only weight problems which can manifest from unbalanced hormones. Inability to lose weight, especially around the mid-section is another common symptom. Cortisol, a hormone regulated by the adrenals is known to cause belly fat retention when too much of it is present in the blood stream. This overabundance of cortisol is more often than not a result of prolonged periods of stress.
If you feel like you’ve exhausted every trick in the book and you still can’t seem to burn off that stubborn belly fat, give essential oils a try. Several adaptogenic oils have powerful abilities to help you reduce stress, lower your level of circulating cortisol, and ditch that annoying ‘spare tire’ once and for all!
3. Loss of Muscle Mass
There are several hormones responsible for growth and maintenance of muscle mass in the human body – GH (growth hormone, also know as somatrophin or somatotrophin), IFG-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) and testosterone being the main contributors, with insulin and thyroid hormones also playing auxiliary roles. When these hormones are out of sync with each other, your body’s ability to digest and process proteins from food becomes hindered, leading to muscle atrophy and the inability to build new muscle tissue.
If you are experiencing loss of muscle mass and you believe hormone imbalance may be to blame, here are a few easy natural tips to help you set things right. Follow a regular exercise schedule including both weight training and light cardio for about 30 – 60 minutes per day. Include more protein in your diet and cut back on simple carbohydrates like white bread, white rice, and sugary foods. Also, be sure you are taking time to relax and unwind at the end of the day. Make it a goal to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
Do you think your hormones are imbalanced? If so, here’s a nice article with some great bio-hacks on getting a better night’s sleep from slumbersecrets.com: https://www.slumbersecrets.com/hacks/circadian-rhythm/